After protests from Philadelphia city officials and Philadelphia-area blogs, the mainstream media has finally picked up on the story of Latoyia Figueroa, a 24-year-old Hispanic woman who is five months pregnant and has been missing for two weeks. While Figueroa's story is similar to Laci Peterson's and seems at least as newsworthy as Natalee Holloway's (Figueroa is pregnant, after all), new outlets have given it little coverage. Even though CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC have all done stories on Latoyia, none has given the matter nearly as much attention as the Natalee Holloway story.
Unfortunately, missing persons are fairly common. While each case is tragic, only some can be covered. How do media outlets determine which to cover and how much ink or airtime each case gets? I can only assume that race consciously or subconsciously plays a role, especially considering the ubiquitous coverage of the Laci Peterson and Natalee Holloway disappearances and the sparse coverage of Latoyia Figueroa.